How to Remove a Cyst on Your Back

Two Parts:Home TreatmentMedical Treatment

Cysts that appear on your back can quickly become painful and irritating. Most will respond well to home treatment and may clear up within a week or so. If you need faster treatment or need to remove a cyst that keeps coming back, medical intervention might be necessary.

Part 1
Home Treatment

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    Use a warm compress. Soak a clean washcloth, cotton pad, or sponge in warm water and apply it directly to the cyst. Repeat this action several times each day.[1]
    • The water should be very warm but not hot enough to cause burns. You should barely feel any discomfort when you touch the water with your bare skin.
    • Once the cloth cools down, soak it in additional warm water or reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds.
    • You can also mix 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of Epsom salt into every 2 cups (500 ml) of warm water used for your compress. The salt can speed up the healing process, but using too much can also cause your skin to dry out, so you should only apply a saltwater compress once or twice a day.
    • The heat thins out the liquid inside of the cyst, which ultimately causes the cyst to shrink and heal faster.
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    Experiment with topical creams. Over-the-counter anti-fungal creams and hemorrhoid creams, in particular, seem to offer the most promising results.
    • Regardless of which topical cream you try, you should apply a small amount directly over the cyst and cover the area with a clean bandage. Remove the bandage the following day and apply additional cream if necessary.
    • Both hemorrhoid creams and anti-fungal creams are formulated to reduce inflammation, and this property encourages the cyst to shrink. Most anti-fungal creams also reduce itching, which may make it easier for you to avoid scratching the area affected by the cyst.
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    Apply tea tree oil. Soak a sterile cotton ball in tea tree oil, then apply the oil directly to the cyst. Do this two to three times each day until the cyst vanishes.[2]
    • Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can help heal many cysts.
    • If tea tree oil dries your skin, you can dilute it by mixing it with a gentler carrier oil, like olive oil or sesame oil. Combine one part tea tree oil with nine parts carrier oil and apply the mix directly to the cyst.
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    Try aloe vera. Use clean hands to dab aloe vera gel directly over the entire cyst.
    • Aloe vera relieves pain and reduces swelling. Applying it to an inflamed cyst can help speed up the body's natural healing process.
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    Consider witch hazel. Use a sterile cotton ball or cotton pad to apply witch hazel gel or cream directly over the cyst on your back. Use just enough witch hazel to completely cover the cyst, and allow it to soak into your skin before cleaning the area.
    • Witch hazel is an astringent. The bark and leaves of witch hazel can be turned into a topical gel or cream, and the tannins witch hazel contains remove excess oil from the skin when the product is applied. As the oils dry up and the pores are tightened, the cyst can begin shrinking.
    • Using too much witch hazel can cause skin irritation and may make the cyst worse, so it is best to use this treatment only once a day.
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    Use apple cider vinegar. Apply pure apple cider vinegar directly to the cyst and cover the area with a clean bandage. Keep the bandage on for three to four days.
    • After you remove the bandage, you may see a hard layer over the surface of the cyst. Carefully wash the area with soap and water and allow the pus to drain.
    • Once the area is clean, apply a fresh bandage. Keep this bandage on for two to three days. After removing it, the cyst and surrounding skin should be healed.
    • Apple cider vinegar is believed to help dry excess oils and kill the bacteria responsible for an infected cyst.
    • Individuals with sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate this treatment, however. If the area burns or severely itches after you apply the apple cider vinegar, you should clean it off immediately and try another treatment option.
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    Apply a paste made with honey. Combine 1/2 cup (125 ml) of wheatgrass with 2 to 4 Tbsp (30 to 60 ml) of pure honey in a blender. Blend the two ingredients together until a thick paste forms, and apply that paste to the cyst.
    • You may need to blend the wheatgrass down into a liquid before adding the honey. Wheatgrass is rich in various nutrients that help your skin stay healthy, so it makes a good base for the honey paste.
    • Honey has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, both of which help facilitate healing. Add enough honey to the blended wheatgrass to create a thick paste that can be applied over the entire cyst.
    • After applying the paste, cover the area with a clean bandage and leave it alone overnight. Remove the bandage in the morning and wash the area with mild soap and water.

Part 2
Medical Treatment

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    Ask for an injection. If you need to shrink the cyst on your back quickly, you can schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. He or she may inject a cortisone or steroid shot directly into the cystic area.
    • Both types of injections should cause the cyst to shrink within hours, and both should also remedy any pain or itching previously caused by the cyst.
    • The use of injections may cause the cyst to heal unpredictably, so you might be left with an indentation or scar after the injection takes effect. This result does not happen to everyone, but it is a definite possibility, so keep the risk in mind when considering this option.
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    Drain the cyst. Depending on size and position of the cyst, your dermatologist may recommend draining it through a needle or catheter.[3]
    • During the procedure, your doctor will usually numb the area before inserting a needle directly into the cyst. The pus and other fluids inside the cyst are then drained through the needle, causing the cyst to collapse in the process.
    • When done carefully, this procedure does not typically cause any major scarring or pain. Some scarring is possible, but when it does occur, it is usually minimal.
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    Ask about standard excision surgeries. Surgical removal is usually best when you have a cyst on your back that returns time and time again. Standard excision surgeries are usually relied on for most cyst removals.[4]
    • Conventional wide excision surgery removes the cyst completely, so it is especially worthwhile if the cyst is suspected to be malignant or if it has caused other health problems.
    • Minimal excision surgery uses a smaller excision to extract the cyst, and as a result, the scarring is much lighter and more likely to heal completely. It is not as effective as wide excision surgery, however, so there is some risk that the cyst will still return.
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    Learn about laser-enhanced surgery. Depending on your circumstances, your doctor may recommend the use of a laser with a punch biopsy excision.
    • During the procedure, the doctor will use a laser to make a small hole in the cyst. The contents of the cyst are then drained, leaving the outer walls to collapse naturally.
    • Roughly one month later, the drained outer walls are surgically cut and removed.
    • This procedure takes longer overall, but it leaves minimal scarring and usually prevents the cyst from returning.
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    Follow all aftercare instructions carefully. After removing the cyst on your back, your dermatologist should recommend some form of aftercare treatment to minimize scarring and complete the healing process.
    • Aftercare treatment is especially important when a cyst is removed surgically.
    • Most aftercare treatment involves the use of an antibiotic ointment. This ointment should be applied to the affected area as directed, and you should continue using it until the area completely heals.
    • Some dermatologists may also prescribe a scar cream to lighten and minimize possible scarring.


  • Do not attempt to drain or pop the cyst at home. Doing so may increase the risk of scarring and could cause possible complications.
  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor if the cyst becomes severely painful or infected. Cysts that do not respond to treatment and those that continue to return even after treatment carry some risk of being malignant, so you are advised to consult a doctor under those circumstances, as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Washcloth
  • Warm water
  • Epsom salt
  • Sterile cotton pads or cotton balls
  • Clean bandages
  • Anti-fungal cream
  • Hemorrhoid cream
  • Tea tree oil
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Witch hazel gel or cream
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Wheatgrass
  • Honey
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Scar cream

Article Info

Categories: Skin Conditions